The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) has announced grants to support agriculture and food security projects in four countries including a soybean project in Nigeria, a food crops project in Ecuador, a maize mill project in Uganda, and two community gardens in the US.
A grant of $17,000 has been given to the Soybean Value Chain Project of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Out of that amount, $15,000 supports EYN’s agriculture staff as part of the denomination’s Integrated Community Based Development Program (ICBDP).
The remaining $2,000 provides an honorarium to Dennis Thompson, who has been consulting and providing training visits in Nigeria as well as connecting the project to a pan-African program of the Feed the Future Initiative of US AID’s Soybean Innovation Lab.
Plans for the project in 2021 include quality seed multiplication, support of 15 volunteer extension agents, training on soybean processing for women, advocacy for soybean production, processing and marketing soybeans within EYN and beyond, and a 10 percent administration fee for EYN’s general operating costs.
A grant of $11,000 has gone to a food crops project of La Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU, the United and Brethren Foundation). The project is part of a strategic plan to address financial stability after much of FBU’s income–typically generated by school and university groups who take short courses at the FBU center–disappeared during the pandemic.
A recent hailstorm and flooding have hampered efforts, causing crop loss and damage to irrigation systems. This grant will accompany a $15,000 grant allocation from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to help with repairs. Total damage to farm and buildings is estimated at $30,000 with FBU contributing $5,000.
A grant of $5,000 is given to a maize mill project of the fledgling Church of the Brethren in Uganda. The grant will be used to purchase a grain mill, construct a structure to house the mill, and cover one year of start-up and operational costs. The mill will support the church’s work with five communities in Kasese District, reaching 500 participants with a focus on the most vulnerable including widows, orphan-led households, and the elderly.
Participants will receive training in the production of maize flour food items along with micro-financing to purchase seed and fertilizer. The mill also will be available for a fee to community members who are not direct recipients of trainings or micro-finance, which will help support other ministries of the church.
A grant of $3,000 supports the garden advocate/casual labor fund of Capstone 118, a community garden in New Orleans, La. Capstone 118 is an outreach project of the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Plains District, which is providing matching funds. In 2018, Capstone began using the “Casual Labor Fund” idea put in place by other community gardens. The change was necessary due in part to the high rate of part-time employee turn-over.
A grant of $1,500 has gone to Springfield (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren for a community garden associated with the church and neighborhood. The garden grows fresh produce for a feeding program for Harvard Park Elementary School students in partnership with a local nonprofit, Compass for Kids. The grant will help fund a stipend for a garden advocate to organize volunteers and reach out to community families, and will help pay for seeds and tools.
Find out more about the Global Food Initiative at www.brethren.org/gfi.
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- Remembering Dale Brown, professor emeritus at Bethany Seminary and a leading theologian in the Church of the Brethren